A vacation or day trip doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With many people looking for ways to cut expenditures these days, it is nice to know you can have fun without spending a lot of money. There are many things you can do in the Branson area without spending a dime.
Visitors of all ages enjoy the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery located by Table Rock Dam off of Highway 165. It is the largest trout production facility in the Missouri Department of Conservation trout production program. At the fish hatchery, you’ll find a Conservation Center that provides information to the public with a focus on fisheries. Also, on site, is a hatchery building complete with outdoor concrete raceways containing fish in various stages of growth.
The area around the hatchery has a boat ramp and fishing access points along Lake Taneycomo, where trout fishing is allowed year-round. To top it off, there are four hiking trails on the property to enjoy the wildlife and scenic beauty of the Ozarks.
Just across the dam from the hatchery is the Dewey Short Visitor’s Center. The center features three films and also contains exhibits showing the natural history of the area.
You can access the center by car or by boat via the courtesy dock. After visiting the Dewey Short Visitor’s Center, you may enjoy walking across the dam, picnicking, swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, or fishing along the shoreline. In addition, located directly adjacent to the Visitor’s Center, is the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail.
Another point of interest is College of the Ozarks, just south of Branson. There are many places on campus to visit including Edwards Mill, the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen, Point Lookout, the Williams Memorial Chapel, and the college greenhouses. The Ralph Foster Museum is also located at the College of the Ozarks. Though admission is not free, it is only $4.50 for adults.
Branson Landing in downtown Branson offers hours of free entertainment. Be sure to visit the water/fire/light/music fountains, especially at night. There is also a playground for the little ones. Many weekend evenings during the summer, there are free concerts to enjoy at the Landing. If you want to have a picnic lunch while visiting the Landing, North Beach Park is located right beside the Landing with picnic tables, BBQ grills, and 2 fishing docks.
In addition to the trails at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail at the Visitor’s Center, the City of Branson maintains six hiking trails & walking paths. If you love to hike, there are plenty of places in the area for you.
Other options for entertainment include one of Branson’s many parks with playground equipment, trails, and picnic areas. There is also the Branson Aquaplex for cooling off in the summer, featuring a zero-depth, leisure pool with several play structures. A basketball goal and two water slides complete the pool amenities. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children.
Are you curious about wine making? The Stone Hill Winery offers free tours at its Branson location. The winery is open year round except Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.
One last thing to add to this list is special events. Throughout the year, various festivals and competitions are held around the area with many of them being free. Some examples include the annual car show with its parade at midnight, the yearly fiddler’s competition, fireworks displays on the 4th of July and also on Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends, and many other fun things to enjoy. asurion customer service